I became entirely sure the vaguely Hitchcockian nuance of The Two Faces of January was intentional about half way through, when the music underscoring a love scene becomes distinctly over zealous and orchestral in tone. It owes other things to the master of suspense as well, there are mcguffins aplenty, a simple story layered with sensational complexity and a look that makes the most of its romantic, fallen grandiose settings. Where it departs from the Hitchcock vein though is in its characterizations, there is real depth here backed up with a sort of realism the Hitch frequently put aside in the name of an exciting story. Indeed, it is personal drama on a grand scale, the small cast of characters lives entwining at the behest of a series of events both within, and beyond their control. Subtlety is king though, and this is what really sets the film apart. What makes it feel so much more like its straight out of the classics file is the way in which a look, a drink choice, a misplaced word can change everything, or nothing. It’s just like a Hitchcock movie, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
The Two Faces of January